Yanagisawa blow for Japan
By Patrick Goss. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
By Edwin Chong
Japan's hopes of winning the inaugural East Asian Championships have been dealt a blow when Sampdoria announced they will not release Atsushi Yanagisawa for the tournament.
Sampdoria general manager Giuseppe Marotta is unhappy Yanagisawa will have to miss a number of crucial league matches to play in a competition many believe was established to generate post-World Cup interest in football within the region.
Although Marotta has given the green-light for the 26-year-old to play in Japan's friendly with Cameroon on November 9, he is reluctant to release the striker for December's show-piece.
"A formal document will be sent to the Japanese Football Association to indicate our refusal to release Yanagisawa in December," said Marotta.
"(Yanagisawa) is a key player for Sampdoria. For him to travel to Japan almost every month for friendly matches is not a good thing.
"We are worried about his conditioning and his performance could be affected. It is in the player's best interest that he skips the tournament."
Meanwhile, midfielder Shinji Ono is in doubt for the Cameroon clash after injuring his right knee in Feyenoord's 2-0 loss to Czech side Teplice on Thursday's Uefa Cup second round fixture.
Feyenoord boss Bert van Marwijk said on the club's official website that the injury is not as bad as first thought, but preferred Ono to miss Japan's friendly if he is not fully fit.
"There is damage on the inside of the knee," van Marwijk explained. "Thankfully there is no damage to the meniscus and he does not have fluid on the knee.
"I hope (he doesn't travel to Japan). I feel that he has to be fully fit to travel.
"But if the medical staff say on Sunday that he needs two or three days to recover, I think (Japan) are entitled to claim him."